Decades ago (I’m guessing ca. 1980) an adult family conversation occurred in my parents apartment. My cousin’s husband was very successful, having studied computers and accounting at university before the digital age took off. He traveled the world setting up distribution systems for a major door-to-door cosmetic firm.
He had recently participated in a think-tank session on the future, in which young, forward-looking minds from Canadian industry, government, media and trade unions had been asked to participate. He had a piece of inside information to share:
Industry and government were, way back then, looking at the potential problems that would occur when the typical 40-hour work week shrunk due to information technology and the great unwashed found ourselves with time on our hands and an increased feeling of alienation from the sense that we were contributing to society through work that could be thought of as useful and worthwhile.
One major conclusion:
Ways must be found to keep the masses occupied and entertained.
As someone who believed in the dignity of work and the value of all humans (and other living things) even way back then, I was offended by this attitude, and expressed my objection.
While the idea was, to me, offensive, it has certainly turned out to be “right on.”
A small, but telling, personal example from today, April 21st:
I wrote a longish, thoughtful reply to a FB friend, who had commented on a post of mine about how distracting FB has become. I typed, conveniently, at the breakfast table. On my iPad. I copied it (in case it didn’t “send”) and, when it didn’t send, the copy wasn’t recoverable. Chalk it up, if you wish, to my fumbling inexperience with things I rarely do (such as FB) on miniaturized app technology, but the process did succeed in keeping me from doing something more politically disruptive. Technology, controlled by The Very Very Few, has succeeded in disabling even the most educated of populations.
FB, the mass TV media and the Apples of this world do not serve us; the reverse is true.
Populations worldwide are in a sleep charmed by distraction, dilution and disinformation – all the empowered, enhanced offspring of technology.
And, of course, this huge example, propaganda, that has found timeless use through millennia, made so much more powerful by modern, digital technology.
4 thoughts on “Digital Distraction, Dilution and Disinformation”
Good observations, we have been lulled to sleep by a false sense of complacency and security. If Shakespeare was correct and
“all the world’s a stage” and we are “merely players”, then the time has come for us to reinvent ourselves, not in the image of who the ruling class want us to be but in the image of the persons we were meant to be. To do this, we will have to be willing to critically examine every single piece of information disseminated by the corporate media and move from passive to active learners.
One (ashamedly recent) insight has simplified the process for me: assume that self-interest is, and has always been, the only motivation for military and diplomatic “interventions.” The published justification is never the real motive.
Land, labor and (natural) resources have historically been the unstated goals of war despite the geopolitical blather and rhetoric.
One sad, recent difference is in the volume, ubiquity and pure, “should know better by now”, EVIL of the blather. Rhetoric was an “honourable” profession before Plato and Aristotle exalted our rationality and took our species a little too seriously. It’s been downhill, from the vantage point of Mother Earth, since then…